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Social Media and the McDonaldization of Friendship

Date & Time:
January 20, 2014 | 3:00 pm
Biological Sciences Building 587
Maria Bakardjieva

With the emergence of each new generation of media technologies the faithful question transmitted by Samuel Morse at the official opening of the Baltimore-Washington Telegraph Line comes back to haunt us with renewed intensity: What hath God Wrought? What hath Google wrought? What hath Zuckerberg wrought? What have you wrought by relocating your social life into a new environment? There are many ways to formulate this question and the answers might differ accordingly. This talk will take inspiration from different schools of social theory - from Weber to McLuhan and more - in an endeavour to sort through the personal, public and political consequences of social media. How has the meaning and practice of sociality changed with the massive migration of friendships to social networking platforms? The presentation will offer a broad, theoretically and empirically informed perspective on the ways our experiences social world is changing and what is at stake.

Maria Bakardjieva is Professor in the Department of Communication and Culture at the University of Calgary. She is the author of Internet Society: The Internet in Everyday Life (2005, Sage) and co-editor of How Canadians Communicate (2004 and 2007, University of Calgary Press). Starting from the early 1990s, her research has examined Internet use practices across different social and cultural contexts with a focus on the ways in which users understand and actively appropriate new media. Her current projects look at the use of digital media for civic engagement and the interactions between traditional and new media with a view to identifying opportunities for broad democratic participation in the public sphere. Maria was the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication from 2011 to 2013.

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